The commanding officer
crew of Forrest Sherman (DDG 98) moved aboard the 23rd Northrop Grumman
Corporation built Aegis guided missile destroyer on Friday,
and were recognized for supporting the company's recovery efforts
following Hurricane Katrina.
"If it had not been for this ship, this shipyard would not be
in the shape it's in today," said Teno Henderson, vice president of the
Aegis destroyer program
at Northrop Grumman's Ship Systems sector.
"This was truly the command center for bringing this shipyard back to
life. I would like to congratulate (U.S. Navy) Cmdr. Michael Van Durick
(the ship's commanding officer) and his crew for the many hours we
spent on and off this ship, and their help in getting our shipyard back
Many Northrop Grumman employees, including Corporate Vice
President and Ship Systems Sector President Philip Teel, lived on the
ship while the company's Gulf Coast facilities were recovering from
Katrina. Company executives and facility managers utilized the ship's
berthing areas, mess decks and office spaces to asses the hurricane
damage and establish the plan to move forward
"This ship stood up against the strongest winds that Mother
Nature could muster and in turn, she became a beacon of hope for this
shipyard when the winds died down," said Navy Capt. David W. Bella,
supervisor of shipbuilding, conversion and repair for the Gulf Coast.
"Forrest Sherman became the hub of the recovery effort here in this
yard, providing a refuge to some, hot meals to many more and the
planning center to get this shipyard back on its feet. By getting this
yard functioning -- the economic engine of the coast -- Forrest Sherman
has already completed her first humanitarian mission. She is already
serving our nation and she hasn't even left the builder's yard."
"The ship's motto, 'relentless fighting spirit,' in the wake of
Katrina has acquired new and tangible meaning," said Van Durick, a
Scranton, Pa., native and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. "It is
through the relentless fighting spirit of the Northrop Grumman
shipbuilding team, the supervisor of shipbuilding team and the efforts
of our crew, that less than five weeks after the impact of Katrina, we
are moving aboard and making the transition from an industrial
production to a Navy operation."
DDG 98 is the 23rd Aegis guided missile destroyer of 28
contracted to Northrop Grumman Ship Systems. The 509.5-foot, 9,300-ton
Forrest Sherman has an overall beam of 66.5 feet and a navigational
draft of 31.9 feet. Four gas turbine propulsion
plants will power the
ship to speeds above 30 knots. DDG 98 will be crewed by approximately
383 officers and enlisted personnel.
DDG 98 will undergo final preparations at Northrop Grumman over
the next two months and will depart the shipyard in mid-December. She
will be commissioned in early-2006, in Pensacola, Fla.